Green People

My wife took our FujiFilm F30 point and shoot to work the other day. The staff was having an ethnic lunch so everyone dressed up (it cost us $60 for a German dirndl from a costume shop) and brought food from the ancestral homeland. Anyway Marion took some photos but was disappointed when she got home to find they all had a green cast over them.DSCF2818

Ah Ha! I said the dreaded white balance.

Seems the office lights created a green cast and Marion didn’t know how to reset the camera to compensate for the eerie lighting.

On most point and shoots there is a white balance menu with half a dozen or more presets for various situations (outdoor, florescent, shade, etc.). It’s easy to set but remember once you’ve finished shooting you MUST set your white balance back to the Auto White Balance position. On most cameras you have to click on the menu item and then press OK or SET to lock it in. 

sRGB. RGB Adobe, CYMK, Lab and Whiskey

Confused about the colour gamut? Who would have guessed that one of the best explanations I’ve run across so far comes from a book (delivered this morning from Amazon.com) on black and white photography. Mastering Digital Black and White by Amadou Diallo is terrific. Although a bit dated (it was published in 2007 after all) the information about how to produce master class black and white prints (emphasis on Photoshop but most of the information pertains to other software as well) is very well explained although the author recommends a shot of whiskey every once in a while as we try to figure out what colour scheme to use when printing black and white photos. Huh! See what I mean? Diallo says you need to understand colour to print in black and white.

sRGB in Raw

I got asked (another) question I didn’t know for sure what the correct answer is during a class today in Waterloo. (Great class by the way. Thanks everyone for the positive feedback on the evaluation forms.) Anyway I got asked can you change the colour space after you’ve shot it in RAW format. The answer so far as I can determine is yes. Like so many other parameters, if you shoot in RAW, you can change it.

Thanks everybody from Waterloo for the great questions. See you in the Henry’s School of Imaging classes on travel and composition.

Why are some shooters better?

Here’s a great website that features a couple of pretty wonderful photographers.

Bobbi and Mike (Cute Alert: Not only do these two have cute names but their photos are cute too. Remember folks, this isn’t reality. It’s photography and especially wedding and portrait photography at its best.) are a couple of pretty good photographers and a quick review of their images should tell you why.

Go have a look and then come back for why I think they are such standouts.

What did you see? Okay the images are way over processed in Photoshop but that’s what the market seems to be buying and these two photographers are catering to a the marketplace. Oh yes, they’re fully booked up for the rest of 2008. I’ll say that again: BOOKED UP FOR 2008. It’s not yet the end of July. Fabulous!!

So why are they so great? Well they do know how to shoot. Their exposures are spot on and thus they are capturing the full range of tones in their images. Their sense of colour makes for compelling photos. But it’s more than that. They pick really good locations for their portrait work. Lots of simple backgrounds. But it’s more than that. Sure they know how to use flash off the camera but it’s more than that too.

So what is it? These guys know how to compose a photo. Look closely at their setups. The rule of thirds comes into play as does the golden ratio and ways to find patterns that help focus the viewer. They know how to frame their subjects so they pop out of the background. These are tried and try rules of making more powerful photos and anyone can learn them. It’s too bad that too few do.

I’m on SmugMug

I finally got tired of trying to get Flickr to work the way I wanted. Ever since Yahoo bought the photo-sharing site I’ve had problems (probably self-inflicted) setting it up the way I wanted it to look. I tried again to set up a new site but the conflict with the existing site just drove me nuts so I’m on SmugMug.

You can find me at http://peterwestphoto.smugmug.com

I’m still on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/solutionfocuscoach but’s been a hassle changing passwords and account names. Maybe in the future I use one for my commercial work and the other for family and friends.

BIG Printers

I’m considering buying a large-format printer. Don’t know yet whether I’ve got the guts to buy a printer that will print on 17″ wide paper or limit (Can you hear the thinking going on here? As I’d be limiting myself if I went smaller.) got one that printed on 13″ media. The two contenders are the Epson 2880 (at 17″ and $800) or the Epson 3800 (at 19″ and $1200). Canon and HP also make fabulous printers in these sizes but I think I’m going the Epson route this time out. Currently I’m printing on an HP 5180 printer that has a second photo paper feeder dedicated to 4X6 prints. The smaller dedicated drawer means I can easily bang off hundreds of small prints for proofing before I pick one or two for printing in larger sizes.

Now one of the arguments is do I “need” a larger printer? And, my response is that “need” doesn’t even come into the equation. Want is the operative word.

What will a large format printer do for me? I will be able to print museum-quality artwork suitable for selling and display.

Final argument in favour of large printers is the bigger Epson uses larger capacity inks so over time (the thinking goes) the larger printer will save money. (I’ll forgive you if you’re laughing uproariously right now.)